Green, Motzko lead Capitals to 5-4 overtime victory over Rangers

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WASHINGTON - Even if Alex Ovechkin is scoring pretty much in every game these days, the Washington Capitals are suddenly winning with some regularity thanks to a bunch of players who aren't known nearly as well.

Mike Green scored 3:41 into overtime after posting two assists in regulation, while Joe Motzko had his first two goals of the season as the Capitals beat the New York Rangers 5-4 Wednesday night for their fourth victory in five games.

"Scoring by committee is something we need, because we've got to take some of the pressure off Ovie," said Brooks Laich, whose second assist of the game set up the winning goal. "He does the job most nights, but for us to win consistently, we need goals from three, four lines."

Green's eighth goal - second on Washington to Ovechkin's 22 - was set up when New York's Brendan Shanahan stumbled and fell to the ice in the Capitals' zone. That allowed Laich to steal the puck and head the other way on an odd-man rush. Laich passed to Green, and the defenceman put the puck past goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

"While I was pivoting, my foot dug into something, and down I went," Shanahan said. "Sometimes you just catch a bad break."

Said Laich: "I don't know what happened. All of a sudden, the eyes just light up."

That blunder ruined a good night for Shanahan, who had a goal and two assists.

Martin Straka scored twice and Jaromir Jagr had an assist for the Rangers, who wasted a 2-0 lead against a team that entered the day with the NHL's worst record.

"I'm not sure if I'm disturbed or perturbed. We just weren't very smart," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "I thought we handled the puck poorly, we managed it poorly, we had disjointed line changes, we had defencemen caught out for two-minute shifts because we couldn't get out of our own end."

His team has lost four of five.

Lundqvist was shaken up after getting hit hard by one of Ovechkin's shots in the first period, and shortly thereafter the Rangers allowed a goal. Washington built an 18-7 advantage in shots in the first period, 35-23 by the end.

"They're a team that creates shots from everywhere," Lundqvist said.

Enforcer Donald Brashear wound up with his first two assists of the season, and defenceman Jeff Schultz scored for a third game in a row. Schultz had never scored in two consecutive games before.

That spread-out scoring is at least in part a product of the aggressive strategy employed by interim coach Bruce Boudreau, 6-3-1 since replacing the fired Glen Hanlon.

Another thing Boudreau instilled: the importance of being confident.

"Hearing him behind us, 'Keep your heads up,' and 'We need to get two goals' - that was the bottom line," said Green, who had three goals in 92 career NHL games before this season. "We just had faith we were going to win the game, and good things happen when you have faith."

Motzko's goals tied the game, and Ovechkin put the Capitals ahead 3-2 about 4 1/2 minutes into the third period. Straka's second goal of the game tied it again, before Schultz gave Washington another lead.

Shanahan pulled New York even about three minutes later, but Washington won for only the third time in 17 games when the opponent scored first.

"We just weren't very brave tonight," Renney said. "And we've got to make sure that doesn't appear on the radar moving forward or we're going to have problems."


Mat Barzal

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